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S o p o r The girl floated. Vague, idle shapes that had buoyed her at first like clouds of pleasure surging back toward the heavens. It seemed an eternity she spent, rolling amid them with laughter bubbling in a warm, gentle spray up her throat. It fizzed and fluttered like butterflies in the air.
Yet, gradually, gradually she became aware. There was something, something about her. As she was inundated with those euphoric vapours the clouds did not stop—they came on, swirling queasily about her inebriated limbs. Nausea swelled her bloated breast, and she tried to swim away, but there was no end to it. She was drowning, soft and distended, saccharine bile leaking through her lips and her skin stretching, straining to contain it all till she thought she might--.
The girl woke with sick in her mouth, her arms pinioned, and she writhed feverishly to try and escape it all—the pleasure, that dread immolation, that--!
“Calm yourself. You’ve long since escaped.&
S o p o r It happened so quickly, then. They drove to Ms. Sopor’s enormous house, a monolith rendered benign by the white fence preceding it and the gloom of the abandoned cottage adjacent. The girl settled in. Time passed, marked by a flurry of misremembered exchanges:
“You shouldn’t have had to go through all that.” That was Ms. Sopor’s mantra, lent voice over the first breakfast they’d shared—a domestic spread lathered in syrup and crowned by perfect omelettes. The old woman was knitting, always knitting, at home. Some kind of sweater, dull and white.
The girl had been loath to glance up from her food and edged, impatiently: “Someone was going to. That’s the way the world works, isn’t it?”
“Aren’t you young to be saying that? Mmm, maybe not. But aren’t you glad it’s over now, all the… hardship?”
“I think once it’s over we’ll all be dead.”
Blessed silence reigned a few
S o p o r “—every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
That was Tolstoy. Or, the first sentence in his book—all that she’d been able to stomach of it. It was a tragedy the way that a generation and all its classics were condensed into a few, trite, empty generalizations. Pleasant sophistry, failed reformulations of lessons too great and too large for the breadth of a paragraph.
Sometimes it felt like failure was the bedrock of civilizations.
Unhappiness was, for all its variety, no less humdrum or universal than any other facet of human experience. It just consoled itself with delusions of singularity and grandeur. Easier to convince yourself that you were the protagonist, that your suffering had a point, if you were the sole bearer of the legacy hounding you.
Take these young, misguided monologues, for example. Fumbling for intellectualization. Fumbling for a distraction from the low, animal groan of panic crescendoing in the back of her skull.
Flux [3/3] Era often lay still, eyes closed when she first emerged from the C.F.A.S. She would stare into the black of her eyelids and let herself adjust to the aching in her lower back, the cold of her destitute apartment, the frigid metal pressed against the base of her skull where a cheap modem hooked up to her neural implants. But this time was different. This time she sensed immediately that she was not alone.
Her eyes opened, and her jaw tightened at the unfamiliar face staring down at her.
"Don't you recognize me?" the man asked her; his voice sounded young, eternally so.
Era did not, and he wasn't a pretty sight. He had a square face, womanly lips, a blunt aquiline nose, and the entire left half of his features appeared as though someone had shoved it in a trash compactor—it was crushed about the swollen, glittering blue eye trying to meet her gaze.
"I suppose you're Cheshire," she said anyway. "I would have appre
Flux [2/3] The chamber was welcoming, despite the sober occasion it heralded, as though... ah, there was a word for it. Something anthropomorphic clung to the beige walls and the soft lamps set therein, to the round, surprisingly egalitarian table where she was to join the C.F.A.S. Enforcers. Even the carpets had been programmed to buoy her feet-- soft, and bright.
...Humanitarian. The room was humanitarian, Era thought.
The C.F.A.S.'s representatives were not-- or, not obviously so. They had no tablets or holofiles. All the information they needed danced, spun in dizzying convolutions about their irises, transmitted directly to their field of vision by whatever port or chair or collar they were hooked up to.
She remembered something her companion (Cheshire, she'd taken to calling him) had whispered to her a year or two ago. Back then, a sympathetic programmer had warned them the Enforcers were coming to break up one of her pro
Flux "Is the machine an extension of me, or have I grown a reflection of the machine...?" The words thrummed past the lips of the avatar hanging over the enormous double doors that crowned the antechamber, as though his musings had strummed real live vocal chords rather than the pixels stretching, taut and stagnant between him and the woman across the carpet.
She offered the freckled Cheshire's floating head and manacled hands naught more than a weak smile. "Much as I have cherished your moral support, this is no time to be trite." She, too, was an avatar-- everything there was but a careful stream of zeroes and ones-- but she was a simulacrum rather than a fiction.
The avatar in manacles smirked at her. She looked nothing like a woman trying to save mankind from itself (or, its toys, at the very least), nothing like the rogue neuroscientist with clinical depression taking on the world, nothing like he would have expected the woman of his dreams to
The Prophet and His General “But what happened to Vacteari?!” the boy demands, and the First General blinks, drawing away though he never casts his gaze from the youth. “Where are the Yggdraeil now?! That story the elder told you—that’s—!”
Ah, the general thinks. He hadn’t reminisced like this in a long time, and he had gotten more than a little swept up in it all—most especially dwelling on his old paragons in their glory days. Still. He surveys the boy, and he sees no callow fascination in those lidded eyes. Of course not. This is one who would have been forced to grow up with a single-minded determination, this is one who plucked a mere whisper of his purpose from a whole narrative of horrors as though the blood sloshing around his ankles was nothing at all…
“Vacteari,” the general replies, laying a hand on the boy’s shoulders, “Has a tale of her own that it is not my place to share. And the Yggdraeil are… cha
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Lilyas has dedicated herself to making our community a brighter place with her vibrant artwork and infectious enthusiasm for interacting with others in our community. It has certainly paid off, as many deviants flock to her page on a daily basis to let her know how much of an inspiration she is. We absolutely agree, and couldn't let all that hard work go without recognition, so it's with great pride that we bestow the Deviousness Award for March 2014, to ... Read More